Saturday, May 20, 2006

Bike Stuff

Once again my bike is upside down. I'm forever trying to get it to shift better by messing with the derailleurs and the like. I got a cheap used Shimano front to see if it would do better than the crappy old SRAM I had, but I'm not seeing much improvement--a bit though, so that's good. I wish there was a front derailleur that was made to accommodate such a large gear spread.


My old SRAM worked better. I'm putting it back on. I'm thinking of creating my own derailleur--designing it to work with much wider gear spreads. One idea I had was to use a rear derailleur as a front one. That would look weird, but might work. Another idea is to create a rotating pusher. Maybe. Something like that might get the pusher closer to the chainrings. The SRAM worked the best, because it sunk down farther than the shimano, which must have been designed for a big road bike. Hard to say....

Barring all that, a middle chainring with some ramp ups, or kickups, or whatever they're called, might improve things. So I either find another 37 or 38T or file some kickups into the one I have now. Maybe I'll file one in and see if it works. If it does, I'll add three more.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Self Referencing???

Funny thing:

I've been wondering lately what makes an individual an individual. Because it's not any kind of trend following--that's for sure. It's when someone not only doesn't follow trends, but actually doesn't care about trends at all. It's when someone is concerned with their own life--their own business--not someone else's idea of what that life or business should be.

I'll tell you right now, if you wear some kind of ugly glasses, then it's probably not you.

And I hate to disappoint you, but if you have bits of metal stuck into your face, it's probably not you either.

All that kind of stuff is just more conformity. But, except for not actually defining yourself, but rather, being defined by others, you get all the emotional benefits of being an individual without the downside of actually being one. (Okay, so I'm being sarcastic)

Just once, I'd like to meet someone else who is self-referencing.

I'd like to meet you if:

  • You're a black guy who grew up in NE Portland that doesn't talk and dress like a bling-ass fucking gang retard. (And it doesn't count if you're black and grew up in Raleigh Hills and went to private school either. Because then you most likely dress, talk, think, and act like all the idiots there.)
  • Everyone in your family is a Democrat and you're a Republican.
  • All the kids in your school carry a backpack, but you carry a briefcase. I could give lots more examples, but it's late and I'll leave off with just these three. But you probably get the idea.

    And for all three examples I gave, you don't care how much shit you get for not conforming to the group's--not to mention outsider's--idea of how you should fall into place.

    I know you're out there in the general population, but I wonder what percent you comprise. One Percent? Surely less than that. I have sat in the food court at Lloyd Center for countless hours, and in all that time, I only saw one teenage black kid that wasn't wearing the "black kid" uniform. Unfortunately, he was wearing the white rocker kid uniform, so I'm not exactly sure if I'd call him an individual, but at least it's clear he chose to do what he liked instead of what every one else was doing--unless he came from a suburb where he's surrounded by white rocker kids.

    Where are the unique individuals?

    Almost nowhere; but, whoever you are, I'd like to meet you. I'm serious, I really would.

  • Friday, May 05, 2006


    Okay, so I'm an atheist.

    I didn't really plan it out that way, but that's the way it transpired. Atheism is not my religion, like it is with a lot of atheists. Some atheists are, like, communists--it's as though they can't believe in God and communism at the same time but have to believe one or the other. Communism and God are always in competition, it seems; which is funny, because there are a lot of similarities between communism and many religions.

    I figure that humans are probably hard-wired for religion. That's why so-called atheists often believe in crazy statist economic schemes, pseudo-science, or other crazy shit: Nature abhors a vacuum. Leave a hole in your brain that is meant for a specific thing, and it fills up with whatever happens by.

    Unlike many atheists, I don't feel the need to mock people who believe in God. In some ways, I wish I was one of them. It actually takes quite a lot of courage to be an atheist--to face life knowing that it all ends so soon, and there's nothing else after it--it just ends. I had a period of time when I did believe in God, and I remember how happy I was knowing I had a place in the universe, and that everything fit in. There I was: part of God's plan. I'd love to feel that way again, but I can't. I know it's not real. No more real than Santa Claus.

    But I would never say that to a Christian friend of mine. I wouldn't even tell him I was an Atheist. I wouldn't want it on my head that he stopped believing in God. I'm only writing this on my blog because I'm feeling desperately lonely and don't know what else to do. No one in my life knows this about me--except my childhood sweetheart/best friend/girl I married.

    One time, when I still believed in God, I had to fly somewhere. Now, I've gotta tell you, I hate flying. It scares the hell out of me. But on the return trip, I sat next to a Christian lady and her little boy. She was obviously afraid as well. Shortly before the plane took off, she looked at me and earnestly asked: "Will you pray with us?" I did, and I'm sure I looked braver than I was. In any case, she felt better, and so did I. If a similar thing happened now, I would do the exact same thing. It would be the kind and decent thing to do. I certainly wouldn't give the poor woman a lecture about "silly superstitions."

    My message to atheists everywhere: Stop acting like such fucking pigs!!! Religions aren't just silly superstitions. I believe there exists enough evidence to suggest that we are hard-wired for them, so, true or not, there's a part of our brain that accepts and/or constructs them, and it takes quite a lot of effort to overcome something like that. And, when and if you do, what have you got? A pretty scary situation, really. Nothing to be all that thrilled about.

    It takes more than a little integrity and courage to be an atheist. In truth, I'm not sure I have what it takes. I'm just not sure. Anyway, I would never tease, mock, denigrate or criticize someone for believing in God. Because in some ways, I wish I could go back. I really do.

    But I can't.